Iron Maiden, Deep Purple and Motorhead are all playing this fortnight in Glasgow's very own 'Monsters of Rock'. A self-confessed, former greaser explains how he got hooked on heavy metal.

Words: Jonathan Trew


MY NAME IS JONATHAN TREW AND I AM A recovering heavy metal addict. I started dabbling in my early teens. I thought I could handle it, but it ended up destroying my credibility.

It was the usual story: I fell in with the wrong crowd and just got drawn in. It started innocuously enough. There was a group of us messing about in a friend's bedroom. Chatting, listening to the radio, boasting to one another about things we’d done with girls we'd never met a standard night in just like any other for a bunch of pluke-ridden, barely adolescent boys. Then it happened. My mate's older brother burst into the room, handed out two dead legs and a punch in the face, then informed us 'gaylords', that he was going to give us some ’Black Sab’.

At the time, I was too young too know that ‘Black Sab’ was the street name for Black Sabbath, a violent, hairy bunch of sociopaths who sang songs about evil (but loose) women, cocaine and horrible deaths.‘ As a teenage boy, it was all I could ever want: macho, closed off to outsiders and guaranteed to frighten my church-going folks. I was hooked.

20 "IE “31’ 8—22 Oct 1998


The next six years of my life were spent in thrall to heavy metal. Black Sabbath was alright to start with, but I quickly needed harder stuff. I started using AC/DC. Just a little at first, at night, on my own. As my habit deepened, I began to need a little shot before going out. Just enough to pep me up and keep me going until I could return home and sink the needle into the groove again. Playing air guitar swiftly followed. Regular head- banging was leaving me with constant neckaches and shooting stars in front of my eyes. But I couldn‘t stop.

I experimented with other forms of

metal abuse. A friend introduced me

to a concoction known as Deep Purple, those huge power chords and curiously high vocals made me feel too good to give it up. I was a metal junkie. Iron Maiden, Saxon, Whitesnake, Scorpions, even Venom, I tried them all. My craving for big hair, tight trousers and making devil signs with my fingers was becoming insatiable. At one point I had a bad case of Dumpy's Rusty Nuts, which only cleared up when I discovered Led Zeppefin.

My appearance deteriorated

I quickly

needed harder st started using ACIDC. Just a little at first.- at night, on my own . . . playing air' guitar swiftly followed.



rapidly. My hair grew long and straggly and, at one particularly low point, I sported the type of mullet favoured by East Germans. Black-and- red striped, skin-tight jeans didn’t seem at all ridiculous, even if worn in conjunction with a dubiously stained sleeveless denim jacket.

Needless to say, the effect all this had on my social relationships was disastrous. All my other friends were heavy metal fans, or ’greasers' as everyone else at school called us. Girlfriends were out of the question. When you stink of patchouli oil and all your instructions in the art of seduction come from songs such as Motorhead's ’Love Me Like A Reptile' or Judas Priest’s ‘Turbo Lover', Lucy in lower fourth is unlikely to show much interest. Heavy metal delayed the loss of my virginity by a number of years.

Eventually, I outgrew heavy metal and got a girlfriend. Unfortunately, she had a penchant for black clothing, cider and the Sisters Of Mercy. Still, having people shout ’miserable goth bastard' at you down the student union was mildly better than being chased through the town centre for having long hair and unwashed jeans.